UW Hospital and Clinics track possible measles exposure

Highly-contagious disease spreads through air by breathing, coughing, sneezing
UW Hospital and Clinics track possible measles exposure
UW Hospital

UW Hospital and Clinics officials said they are tracking a possible measles exposure in Madison.

A spokeswoman said the hospital is trying to figure out how many people might have been exposed.

Hospital officials are contacting people who were in the hospital between Feb. 1 and Feb. 3, which is when an adult patient was admitted. Lab results confirmed that patient was infected with the virus that causes measles.

Officials said the disease is rare, and spreads through the air by breathing, coughing and sneezing. Symptoms include a fever, rash, running nose and pink eye.

“In recent years, though, there have been recent emerging clusters of measles, and it’s concerning because it can be a pretty severe illness and it’s extremely contagious,” said Dr. Nasia Safdar with the UW Hospital Infectious Disease Department.

People usually develop symptoms about a week after being exposed to the virus, but medicine is only effective the first 72 hours.

“Once you have symptoms though, there’s really no medicine, just supportive care. Most people will recover after feeling miserable for a couple days,” Safdar said.

According to the release, the disease can cause serious complications, particularly in vulnerable groups.

Hospital officials urge patients and visitors who were in the Emergency Department from 3 p.m. until midnight on Feb. 1 and who have not been immunized against measles or are uncertain about their vaccination status to contact Dane County Public Health at 608-243-0456.